Characters: The Pretender
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Jarod and His Family
General tropes about him and his family include:
- Badass Family
- Determinator: It's a family trait.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: Runs in the family.
- Properly Paranoid
- Tangled Family Tree: Appears straight-forward at first... and then you find out about Gemini, who is Jarod's clone, and Ethan, who is Jarod/Kyle/Emily's half-brother because Mr. Raines implanted Major Charles' sperm into Catherine Parker (which then, of course, sort of makes Jarod and his family related to Miss Parker and Mr. Lyle).
- Walking the Earth: All of them are walking the earth searching for each other and/or ways to take down the Centre.
Played By: Michael T. Weiss; Ryan Merriman (child)A "pretender", someone with a high-level intelligence who can pass as an expert in practically any field. Jarod was abducted as a boy by the Centre, a nefarious think tank that recognized his abilities as a savant. Trained under Sydney, Jarod ran 'simulations' of deadly accidents and terrorist attacks, believing that his data would prevent such events in the future. He was later horrified to learn that the Centre was doing just the opposite. As an adult, Jarod escaped from the clutches of the Centre to search for his real family.
- The Ace: Is the best of the best of the Pretenders (any of whom would be considered The Ace by normal human standards), able to insert himself into anyone's mindset, into any job, and pick up any skill set required for whatever he wants to do. Basically, he takes the phrase 'you can be anything you want to be' and literally does do and become whatever he wants.
- Adorkable: He has a childlike innocence, purity of emotion, and wonder (when not Pretending); is just terribly nice and sweet to innocents; practically squees any time he gets to interact with a family that really loves one another; and is genuinely curious and puzzled about U.S. societal and cultural norms; all of which combined makes even the over six-foot, highly imposing Jarod someone that is just terribly adorable when he's not being the psycho, badass avenger and defender of the weak.
- The Atoner: For what The Centre used his sims for.
- Badass Arm-Fold: Often when he's taunting a villain.
- Badass Baritone: Has a very deep voice, and is a person it is a really good idea to avoid being on his bad side.
- Badass Longcoat: Frequently wears a long, black leather coat, especially when confronting the bad guy of the week in vengeance mode.
- Berserk Button: Kidnapping or harming a child. Just don't.
- Any sort of human trafficking.
- Rape, as well.
- Breaking up families.
- Beware the Nice Ones: He's a genuinely kind and compassionate person who, simply put, loves people and is fascinated by them... unless you've taken advantage of, or hurt, an innocent, then he's a calculating, unstoppable ball of barely Suppressed Rage (and sometimes not Suppressed Rage), that will set up elaborate Batman Gambits that result in one hell of a Mind Rape, and/or (if you've kidnapped or harmed a child) a beating within an inch of your life.
- Break the Cutie: He was kidnapped as a kid; tortured psychologically, emotionally, and physically; was kept as a slave to the Centre for thirty years — that's just at the start of the program and it just gets worse from there. Really.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: In any job he takes on he's considered odd, but much too good to fire.Fellow F.B.I. agent: "Jarod, has anyone ever told you you're an odd duck?"Jarod: "Odd, yes. Duck, no."
- But Now I Must Go: To keep ahead of The Centre Team.
- Catch Phrase: "Didn't you?!" and "I'm not really a [occupation]."
- Celibate Hero: For the most part, because he takes relationships seriously and he is well aware that he's a danger magnet.
- The Chosen One: According to an ancient prophecy, part of which says he will bring about the end of the Parker name.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Is obsessed with helping those wronged by his corrupted Sims, those he feels have been grievously wronged in unrelated ways, and even those he happens to run into at any given time that need help.Young Sydney: You can't save everyone.
Young Jarod: Well, I had to try!
- Con Man
- Criminal Mindgames: Jarod loves playing these on his pursuers.
- Cuddle Bug: Loves to give and receive hugs.
- Cute and Psycho: He is genuinely kind and compassionate to innocents, but the side of him you see when he is handing out justice to villains is a shock to both those that have met him and the audience because he seems rather a bit psycho.
- Dark Is Not Evil: His preferred wardrobe is all black, which makes him look quite sinister.
- Determinator: The man will not give up. Whether it is finding his family, trying to save someone, or bringing justice to someone, he will. not. give. up.
- Double Consciousness: Because he was essentially raised to inhabit the minds of others, he doesn't have a very strong sense of who he is and mentions more than once that he's got many hundred lives in his head (people he's Pretended to be) but none of which are his.
- Emotional Bruiser: Doesn't have the cultural stigma against showing emotion, but you certainly can't call him unmanly.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Jarod's hair (forcibly kept as a crew-cut by and in The Centre) grows out gradually throughout the seasons as a sort of mark of growth in freedom, individuality, and how much he's going to let The Centre control him even now he's free.
- Fascinating Eyebrow: Frequently, as he finds a lot of cultural conventions strange.
- The Fettered: Lives by the principle of protecting and helping others above any other agenda.
- Flashback Nightmare: A lot. He's got more than enough nightmare fuel in his past.
- Forgets to Eat: and sleep.
- Friend to All Children: A lot of his pretends involve helping children somehow harmed by an incident, and woe unto who harms a child, for he has nearly beaten men to death for doing so.
- Friend to All Living Things: Kind to every possible animal - even cockroaches. One unseen pretend even dealt exclusively with a farmer using a too powerful cattle prod on cows.
- Genius Bruiser: The bruiser part grows as the series goes on, since The Centre, quite understandably, didn't teach him any way to defend himself he had to learn after escaping and takes lessons and grows into quite a good fighter.
- Genius Sweet Tooth: Having quickly discovered sugar after his escape, he loves it in all forms (but especially Pez and ice cream).
- Good Is Not Dumb: By no means.
- Guile Hero: While he eventually becomes quite proficient in physical combat, his real combative specialties lie in psychological and emotional manipulation.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: Loves leather coats, especially black ones.
- Heroic Safe Mode: Of the realistic sort. Learned how to go into this at an early age because he had to learn how to think in dangerous situations and had to put aside pain to figure something out; he can disengage his mind from what is going on and just concentrate on his thoughts while 'some other part' feels the pain. Obviously doesn't always work, because the pain can overcome the safe mode, but it has allowed him to take torture without losing his mind or as much of his spirit as his torturers have intended.
- Honor Before Reason: In "Bloodlines," Jarod is told that Major Charles murdered Catherine Parker. He doesn't want to believe it, but in "Hope and Prey," he says he'd rather know the truth than live a lie.
- House of Broken Mirrors: Jarod is not fond of mirrors because they remind him of everything he is not: one and whole. He rarely (except for a few memorable occasions) actually breaks the mirrors to reflect his splintered and broken psyche, but he does tend to avoid having lodgings that have them.
- Hurting Hero: Hoo boy.
- Innocent Prodigy: Was one.
- Instant Expert: Goes with being a Pretender.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Despite being obviously attracted to Miss Parker, he sets her up with Nice Guy Thomas purely because he wants to see her happy and he is genuinely upset when Thomas is killed off by the Centre.
- Knight Errant
- Man Child: Generally exhibits a childlike wonder and certain amount of childlike innocence...
- The Matchmaker: Sets up Sydney and Michelle and Miss Parker and Tommy.
- Missing Mom: Actually has a whole missing family, but his mother is most notably so because he never actually gets to meet her.
- Mundane Object Amazement: Due to his being isolated from the outside world.
- Noodle Incident: The show opens with Jarod already out of the Centre and, for four seasons, viewers and characters alike don't know how he escaped. A selling point of 2001 was finally revealing how he pulled it off.
- There are occasional references to unseen pretends, though the most memorable example has to be from "Til Death Do Us Part," where Jarod is said to have exposed a clown as a child molestor. The clown was found in a circus's tiger cage with a piece of meat tied to his privates.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: As part of his pretends, he downplays how smart he really is depending on what the profession is. He can purposefully play it up, as he springs a trap on someone.
- Omniglot: Again, comes with being a Pretender. Over the course of the series we hear him speak Spanish, Russian, Sweedish, Apache, and he learns Cambodian within a matter of hours by reading a few books from the library. Jarod also invented his own form of short hand which he uses to keep notes he doesn't want others reading.
- Phlebotinum Rebel
- Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: All the time because of his isolation in The Centre, however, he is eager to pick it up and proudly shows off whatever pop culture he picks up.
- Quizzical Tilt: When encountering and trying to understand some sort of human behavior, thinking, practices, item, or pop culture he has never seen before.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: In "Flesh and Blood," Jarod makes it clear he wants to settle the score with Lyle over what happened to Kyle. Ultimately, Jarod chooses to subvert the trope but still gets some revenge. He makes Lyle think he'll kill him, gets him to beg for mercy, and knocks him out cold.
- Sarcastic Confession: Uses these a lot.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Starts out this way, due to the abuses done to him by The Centre, and from there it just gets worse.
- This is a particular plot point in "Stolen," where he has nightmares and panic attacks about his abduction.
- Shrouded in Myth: In "P.T.B.", the Conspiracy Theorist radio show host hands Jarod a file full of newspaper clippings. They're all Continuity Nods to past pretends, with the last one titled "Who is Jarod?"
- Slasher Smile: Very often when he has the villain of the week entrapped and experiencing whatever justice Jarod felt was acceptable.
- Technical Pacifist: Generally has no problem with psychologically exacting vengeance or punching a bad guy, but doesn't consider death an acceptable vengeance.
- Think Nothing of It
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: He only breaks this rule under the most extreme circumstances.
- To Know Him, I Must Become Him: How he figures out who, how, or why the villain of the week did the deed.
- Averted in "Once In a Blue Moon" where Jarod refuses (because of the emotional and mental trauma it will cause him) to fully go into a psychotic serial killer's mind, and instead tricks the man into revealing where the next victim was.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Pez candy.
- Trickster Mentor: Jarod often clues the pursuit team into various secrets or plans involving the Centre, but instead of just telling them outright, he usually makes use of riddles and puzzles that they have to figure out.
- Un-Person: In "Mr. Lee," it's revealed that Jarod quietly disposes of any records or paperwork he used to pull off a given pretend. As Dr. Fein laments while in prison, it's as if Jarod never existed.
- Walking the Earth: Due to that he's both searching for his family and is on the run from the Centre.
- Warrior Therapist
- We Help the Helpless: In fact, in addition to helping them, he'll give them money, too.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Jarod is deeply torn in his relationship to Sydney—wanting to be acknowledged as like a son by his Parental Substitute but also resenting him for his captivity.
- You Are Not Alone: In "Mr. Lee," Susan Granger notes the paradox of Jarod: always there for others but feeling so completely alone himself.
- Played by: Kim Myers
- Determinator: It's been thirty years and she's still not given up searching for her son(s).
- Law of Inverse Fertility: Was unable to have children until she and Major Charles went to that very helpful fertility clinic... which just happened to sideline in kidnapping special children.
- Missing Mom: Not her choice.
- Mysterious Parent
- Parents Know Their Children
- Played by: George Lazenby
- Badass Old Guy: Still a force to be reckoned with.
- Dad the Veteran: Was an Air Force Pilot.
- Determinator: Thirty years? Not a chance he's going to give up. He's still searching for his family and is determined to bring them back together again.
- Disappeared Dad: Not his choice.
- The Drifter: Not particularly out to help others, but does it along the way.
- Hell-Bent for Leather
- Hero of Another Story: Major Charles earned a Distinguished Flying Cross while in the Air Force. He also rescued a missing Indian boy, which forms the backstory for "Hope and Prey."
- Not Quite Dead: Mr. Raines shot him shortly before Catherine Parker was murdered. The Centre Administration genuinely believed he was dead until he turned up at an Arctic research site in "Qallupilluit."
- Papa Wolf
- Parents Know Their Children
- 'Played by: Marisa Petroro
- Broken Bird: We don't spend that much time with her, but according to Mr. White, she's tormented by the tragedies that befell her family.
- Determinator: It runs in the family.
- Hot Scoop: Is a reporter and quite attractive.
- Intrepid Reporter
Kyle. Second child born to Margaret and Major Charles, and also stolen by The Centre. See his his tropes under Other Pretenders/Centre Experiments
Gemini. Jarod's clone, created by Mr. Raines. See his tropes under Other Pretenders/Centre Experiments
Ethan. The result of Mr. Raines impregnating Catherine Parker with Major Charles' sperm. See his tropes under Other Pretenders/Centre Experiments
The Centre Pursuit Team
Miss Parker, Sydney, and Broots (occasionally joined by Miss Parker's personal Sweeper, Sam, and regularly in later seasons by Angelo) have been tasked with the recapture of Jarod. Though they at first clash, they soon form a close bond that has more to do with staying alive through all of The Centre's backstabbing than actually capturing Jarod. They eventually become more allies than antagonists to Jarod.Tropes that fit the group as a whole include:
- Fire-Forged Friends: Initially they fight and pretty much generally hate and/or fear each other, but become quite the little close-knit family having each other's back within and without the Centre.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble:
- Miss Parker is the Choleric.
- Sydney is the Melancholic.
- Broots is the Phlegmatic.
- Angelo is the Leukine.
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: Very quirky.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Initially.
Played By: Andrea Parker; Ashley Peldon (child)A former "cleaner" for The Centre who now works as a field agent. Miss Parker is also the daughter of The Centre's chief executive, Mr. Parker. Her allegiances are challenged when Jarod digs up evidence regarding her late mother's alleged suicide — which may have been murder.
- The Baroness
- Broken Bird
- Conflicting Loyalty: Not so much as an adult, but in "Donoterase," she admits she sympathized with Jarod as a child and regretted not helping him.
- Cuteness Proximity: Despite doing her best to not let them get to her, she loosens up and becomes very gentle to and around Debbie and Angelo (when no one else is looking, of course).
- Dark Action Girl
- Dating Catwoman: Her relationship with Jarod, however, she's not willing to openly admit her attraction, as where he is (though he just wants to see her happy more even more than see her with him and he sets her up with Nice Guy Thomas).
- Deadpan Snarker: One of her chief traits.
- Defrosting Ice Queen
- Good Smoking, Evil Smoking
- Hearing Voices: Of the positive kind (from where, we know not), if only she would listen to them. It is a gift passed down to her from her mother.
- Heavy Sleeper:Jarod: Your gun won't work. I took the firing pin out last night.
Miss Parker: I sleep with this under my pillow.
Jarod: And you drool out of the left corner of your mouth.
(Miss Parker pulls the trigger and nothing happens)
- Hypocritical Heartwarming: As she says in "Nip and Tuck," she's the only one allowed to terrorize Broots.
- I See Dead People: Her mother for one at the end of the fourth season, and then the ghost of her great grandfather's murdered daughter in "Island of the Haunted."
- Ignored Epiphany
- In the Blood: Wonders if she, along with the other Parkers, are all doomed to be murderers, whether it's just in the blood, or whether she can break the cycle. It doesn't help that in "Island of the Haunted" it is said that her family is cursed because her great grandfather made a deal with the devil and slaughtered his entire family.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold
- The Lost Lenore: Thomas, who Jarod sets her up with, is killed by The Centre.
- The Nicknamer: Comes up with nicknames for just about anyone she comes in contact with. She calls Jarod things like 'Frankenstein's Monster' and 'Wonderboy,' Mr. Raines things 'Nosferatu' and similar themed names, and Sydney 'Dr. Frankenstein.'
- Noble Demon: While she verbally abuses Broots and Sydney, she'd also lay down her life for them; while she will do just about anything to recapture Jarod and return him to slavery in the Centre, she won't hurt an innocent (which would be the most effective way to get at him) and is just about as enraged by child abuse as he is.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Justified in that if she catches Jarod she's been promised that The Centre will let her quit.
- Separated at Birth: She and Mr. Lyle are twins, but Mr. Raines made it seems as though Lyle were dead and adopted him out.
- She's Got Legs
- Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!
- Stepford Snarker: Generally hides her pain and any vulnerability with bitter snark.Debbie: Why are you so mean?
Miss Parker: I was born that way.
Debbie: I don't think you were. (puts down a picture of Catherine and Young Miss Parker)
- Taking the Bullet: For Mr. Parker. She got better.
- Trapped in Villainy: By her loyalty to her father.
- Uncanny Family Resemblance: With her mother (who is also played by Andrea Parker).
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: until her mother's death.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: All Miss Parker really wants is her father's approval and assurances of his love.
Played By: Patrick Bauchau; Alex Wexo (flashbacks to Jarod's childhood)A psychologist who works for The Centre. He was tasked with overseeing Jarod's development and knows more about him than anyone. Sydney is the closest thing Jarod has to a father, though Sydney refused to return such sentiments. Nevertheless, Sydney cannot deny his paternal instincts for Jarod, and cooperates with Miss Parker's manhunt in hopes of protecting him from harm.
- Always Identical Twins: He and Jacob.
- And Starring
- Beware the Nice Ones: He tried to kill Mr. Raines for trying to kill Jarod.
- Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Mr. Raines pointedly reminds Sydney that Jarod is his only lifeline in The Centre. He adds that the longer Jarod is free, the weaker that lifeline becomes.
- Conflicting Loyalty: Between Jarod and The Centre. Eventually becomes the Reverse Mole for Jarod.
- Disappeared Dad: To Nicholas, but not by choice.
- Fatherly Scientist: Tried to keep a detached perspective about Jarod, but came to view him as a son.
- He Who Fights Monsters: In "Indy Show," he feels he has become this.(to Jacob) "Since your accident, I've done things - terrible things - to protect Jarod, to protect you. I even tried to kill Dr. Raines, but the bullet hit his oxygen tank."
- I Choose to Stay: Sydney worked for The Centre when it was actually a force for good in the world. He noticed when things started going bad, but he chose to stay.Sydney: There were those that depended on me.
Miss Parker: Jarod.
- Ignored Expert: He believes The Centre is being too extreme in its pursuit of Jarod and that they're only serving to drive him further away.
- My God, What Have I Done?: In "Jaroldo!", Sydney is shot and slowly bleeding out. As he gets worse, he says:Sydney: I could've saved him.
Miss Parker: Who?
Sydney: Jarod. He should have lived a normal life.
- My Greatest Failure: Either Jarod being held in The Centre or the accident that put his brother in a coma.
- The Needs of the Many: Partially how he justified Jarod and the other children's treatment and training, the other reason was For Science!
- Papa Wolf: Don't touch any of "his" kids.
- Parental Substitute: To Jarod, and, to a certain extent, Miss Parker.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Watches soap operas.
- Shipper on Deck: For Jarod and Miss Parker; Miss Parker and Broots; and Miss Parker and Tommy.
- Spanner in the Works: His arrival into the action in "Flesh and Blood" is what allows Jarod to turn the tables on Mr. Lyle.
- Stealth Mentor: To a certain extent to Jarod. He hasn't told Jarod about all the ways he saved Jarod from The Centre both in the past and in the present, so Jarod will think him more a villain instead of coming back to extract him and chance getting recaptured.
- Those Wacky Nazis: Was kidnapped by them in World War II as a child to be experimented on.
- Twin Telepathy: With Jacob, naturally.
- You Are What You Hate: Hates Nazis for experimenting on kids, and hates himself just as much for doing the same thing.
Played By: Jon GriesA computer expert and the third member of Miss Parker's triad. Unlike other Centre employees, Broots is shown to be a caring family man who is rather out of his depth. He holds no stake in Jarod's capture, but cooperates out of regard for Sydney and Miss Parker, his closest friends.
- Audience Surrogate
- Bad Liar: Really, really bad.
- Berserk Button: Threatening or upsetting his daughter. He once yelled at Miss Parker for doing the latter.
- Bumbling Dad: Slightly.
- Casual Kink
- Cowardly Lion: He's frightened and freaks out easily, but he frequently braves sneaking into restricted areas in the Centre at the risk of getting caught or worse, will do anything to protect his daughter and just about anything to protect Sydney and Broots, and can be counted on as a steady ally in times of crisis.
- Ignored Enamored Underling: Has a crush on Miss Parker, somewhat to his dismay and her amusement.
- Mission Control: For most of Season 1, Broots would stay at The Centre while Miss Parker and Sydney would go in the field. By the end of the season, while remaining the tech guy, he would regularly join them instead.
- Nice Guy
- Only Sane Man
- Papa Wolf: He does not tolerate anyone messing with his kid.
- Plucky Comic Relief
- Punch Clock Villain: he has no interest in doing Centre business the second he clocks out of work.
- Trapped in Villainy: Would really rather not be in The Centre, but they'd kill him if he left.
Angelo. See Other Pretenders/Centre Experiments folder.
Played By: Harve PresnellThe boisterous head of The Centre and father to Miss Parker. His easygoing personality conceals a wily mind.
- Affably Evil
- The Bluebeard: Played straight with Brigitte, and juggled without resolution with Catherine.
- Cain and Abel: Obviously lampshaded by his brother, Abel Parker. Aka Mr. Raines.
- Consummate Liar: No one (including the audience) can tell when he's lying and when he's not.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He dearly loves his daughter, even if he's willing to manipulate her into helping him get what he wants.
- Evil Old Folks
- The Ghost: For most of Season 1.
- Heel Realization: At the end of Island of the Haunted.
- Manipulative Bastard: Best summed up in "Amnesia":"It's not about who knows what; it's about who thinks they know what and what you want 'em to think!"
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Comes across as an affable old gent who is obsequious to his superiors, believes the best of everyone, and can't see a threat right under his nose, but is actually one of the most cunning, cold bastards in the series, regularly out-gambitting all comers and playing ambitious rivals Raines and Lyle like a master pianist.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Killing Mutumbo.
- Pornstache: Has a rather magnificent mustache.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Is always dressed to the nines. When he's not, it is a huge signal at how much power has gotten out of his control.
Mr. Raines aka Abel Parker
Played By: Richard MarcusA former colleague of Sydney's who ran similar experiments with other children, most notably Kyle and Angelo. At some point in the past, Raines abandoned his doctorate. A chain-smoker, he seems to be suffering from illness and is always accompanied by his squeaky-wheeled oxygen tank.
- Bald of Evil
- Big Bad
- Dirty Old Man
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: As revealed in "Once in a Blue Moon."
- Evil Cripple: First his lungs are crippled, making him need his signature air tank. Later loses a thumb but gets it back.
- Feeling Oppressed by Their Existence: This conversation between Jarod and Mr. Raines:Jarod: You stole me from my parents. You had the FBI kill my brother, and now you're trying to kill my family. What have I ever done to you?Mr. Raines: You exist.
- Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: He is of the evil sort.
- Guttural Growler
- Heel-Faith Turn: At the start of Season 4, Raines returned from Africa far more religious than before and though still out to catch Jarod, seemingly more kindhearted. The question was whether this was the result of some Triumvirate torturing, he himself faking it to save his own life or if it was all genuine. Apparently, it was a fake-out as he's back to his old state-of-mind in the movies.
- Iconic Item: His oxygen tank.
- Jerkass Has a Point: In "Stolen," Mr. Raines remarks that he's always believed that Sydney wants Jarod out there righting wrongs for the little guy. Miss Parker, to her horror, thinks Raines has a point.
- Joker Immunity: He just won't die. Not even his oxygen tank blowing up can kill him.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Is Miss Parker and Mr. Lyle's biological father.
- Mad Scientist: A classic.
- Manipulative Bastard
- The Man Behind the Man: Different episodes suggest Raines was this for Mr. Lyle. In "Bloodlines," he arranged for his adoption. "Inner Sense" has Lyle himself mention how "Bobby Bowman" was one of Raines' outside projects.
- Medical Rape and Impregnate: Mr. Raines does this to Catherine Parker. Twice. Once with his own sperm, and once with Major Charles'.
- Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: In one early episode, he remarked that he wasn't a doctor anymore and not bound by the Hippocratic Oath. However, flashbacks show then-Dr. Raines performing medical practices that would've had him immediately stripped of license by a proper review board.
- Not Quite Dead: He was shot in "Inner Sense" but turned up alive in 2001.
- Soap Opera Disease
- The Starscream: He's pretty brazen about his disregard for Mr. Parker and even tried to have him killed in "Donoterase."
- Super Breeding Program: Has been trying to create more Pretenders.
- Sympathy for the Devil: The twist ending to "Once in a Blue Moon."
- Vader Breath
- Villainous Incest: When seen in retrospect, when you know he's Miss Parker's biological father, his ogling her in the first couple of seasons turns into unutterable squickness and underlines his evilness.
- You Are in Command Now: After Mr. Parker jumps out of a plane and not found, he takes command.
Mr. Lyle aka Bobby Bowman
Played By: James DentonA latecomer who is brought in to oversee Jarod's capture, which The Centre believes has been mishandled by Miss Parker's team. Lyle conceals his sadistic tendencies beneath a veneer of professionalism.
- An Arm and a Leg: Thanks to both Jarod and those in The Centre, Lyle finds himself on the bad side of a Yakuza clan. He disappears for a while, but upon his return, he's missing a thumb - per their tradition.
- The Bluebeard: Has indulged his serial killing by marrying mail-order brides and then killing them.
- Bullying a Dragon: In "Past Sim," he brushes off warnings of Jarod taking offense to using one of his Sims to kidnap a murder witness (which also led to the death of a federal agent). See above trope for how well that worked out for him.
- Cain and Abel: Is the evil twin brother of Miss Parker.
- Chair Reveal: His first appearance.
- Consummate Liar: It's just better not to trust anything he says."When in doubt, lie."
- Devil in Plain Sight: Everybody knows he's an ambitious Manipulative Bastard who will anything to get to the top, but everyone but Miss Parker's team and Jarod seems completely oblivious to the fact he's a serial killer and a cannibal.
- The Dragon: To Mr. Raines.
- Dragon with an Agenda: No matter who he works for, he always has his own plans in mind.
- Easily Forgiven: Part of his game in "A Stand Up Guy" and especially "Red Rock Jarod." He believes that if he walks back into The Centre with a captured Jarod, all would be forgiven.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He framed his adopted father for his own murder (ensuring a life sentence), but this also drove his adopted mother insane. When Jarod points this out, Lyle—if even for a moment—seemed genuinely remorseful.
- Played with after he learns he's Mr. Parker's son. He seems to have some affection for the old man and never makes a move against him (even selling out Raines to him on one occasion), but any love he claims to have for Miss Parker is all an act.
- Eviler Than Thou: In his first appearance, Mr. Raines refers to him as "The Bogeyman." Mr. Parker is also unable to handle him directly, requiring more covert action. Of course, that was when Lyle had a much stronger powerbase in the organization.
- Faking the Dead: In high school, Lyle faked his death by murdering his best friend, cutting off the head, and framing his foster father for it. He repeats the trick in "A Stand Up Guy" after Miss Parker shoots him, though this is not formally revealed until "Red Rock Jarod."
- Faux Affably Evil: He appears affable enough, but when things don't go his way, the mask slips.
- Freudian Excuse: His adopted father disciplined him by locking him in a shed for any misbehavior.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Was just a small town ordinary farm boy... until he faked his own death by murdering his best friend and making the body seem to be his and framing his adoptive father for it and is now a Serial Killer with a penchant for cannibalism.
- I'm a Humanitarian: As revealed in "The Year of Agent Zero," he murdered two women in Thailand years ago and harvested their organs. It's implied he continues the practice.
- The Man Behind the Man: Attempted with Alex. The Triumvirate tasked Lyle with breaking and molding him after Jarod's escape, but the guy could not be controlled.
- Man in White: A couple of times to contrast Jarod's usual wardrobe of black.
- Manipulative Bastard: Is outclassed by Mr. Raines and Mr. Parker, but is still very dangerous in this way.
- Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: What he says. Nobody believes him.
- Only Sane Man: In Season 3, he proves to be the most level-headed person in the room during family squabbles.
- Serial Killer: Is one. Has a special penchant for Chinese women.
- That Man Is Dead: Raised as Bobby Bowman, he gave up this identity when he faked his death and took the name of his abusive adopted father.
- Token Evil Teammate: In Season 3, he's added to Miss Parker's team.
- Torture Cellar: Has one.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: Is in charge of The Centre a few different times.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: His foster mother remarks he used to be "sweet as sugar."
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Lyle has done a lot to Jarod and is still breathing. Even Mr. Lee asked why Jarod hasn't simply just killed him and be done with it.Mr. Lyle: Maybe he likes me.
Mr. Lee: Not!
- Played by: Pamela Gidley
- Becoming the Mask: At first only went out with Mr. Parker because she wanted power, but genuinely fell in love with him.
- Blondes Are Evil: Though for part of Season 3, she has black hair before changing it back.
- Dark Action Girl
- Dark Mistress: Mr. Parker.
- Evil Counterpart: To Miss Parker.
- Killed Off for Real: In "Til Death Do Us Part," she bleeds to death while giving birth.
- Perky Female Minion: To Mr. Lyle.
- The Rival: She and Miss Parker are each other's. They eventually gain respect for each other after Miss Parker finds out that though Brigitte's 'seduction' of Mr. Parker might have initially been a bid for power, she actually has fallen in love with him.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Always has a lollipop in her mouth.
- Played by: Lenny Von Dohlen
- Affably Evil: He's always friendly and polite, even in the midst of assassinating someone.
- Deadly Doctor: Has a medical degree and training. This just makes him all the more dangerous.
- The Dragon: Ostensibly to the Triumvirate but actually to Mr. Parker.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He speaks very fondly of his father.
- The Grim Reaper: What Miss Parker calls him.
- Man of Wealth and Taste: Certainly dresses like it.
- Soft-Spoken Sadist: He never raises his voice and he's always polite, but it's very clear he enjoys his job.
- Taxidermy is Creepy: It's his hobby, and he loves to philosophize about it.
- Played by: Sullivan Walker
Other Pretenders/Centre Experiments
Played By: Paul Dillon, Jake Lloyd (child)A pet project of Mr. Raines, Angelo was born Timmy, a child savant in the same vein as Jarod. Mr. Raines subjected him to intense shock treatments to enhance his empathic mind, at the cost of his lower brain function. Initially portrayed as an antagonist, Angelo is quickly revealed to be more cunning then he lets on. He considers Jarod his friend and assists him from behind the scenes.
- Ambiguous Disorder
- Broken Angel: Jarod sends him an angel with a broken wing as a symbol for him to let him know that he (Jarod) understands and empathizes with how Angelo has been broken.
- Can't Stay Normal
- Didn't See That Coming: Timmy had the potential to be a Pretender, but the abilities were latent. The experiments then-Dr. Raines performed on him were designed to bring that potential to the surface and make him like Jarod. Instead, they destroyed his mind and made him an empath.
- The Empath
- Flawed Prototype: He was supposed to be a Pretender like Jarod,but Raines experimented on him to make him more efficient and ended up destroying his mind and turning him into something completely different and completely useless for the Pretender program.
- Idiot Savant
- Important Haircut: As an act of defiance, he shaves his head.
- Lost in Character: Can become so (and very difficult to get back) if the emotional state of someone is strong enough.
- Man Child: Of a very sweet and innocent variety.
- Meaningful Name: Angelo = Angel
- The Mole: Also the Detective Mole.
- Mundane Object Amazement: At least as far as food goes.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: Originally started out as a information analyst and computer expert, then being able to lose himself in someone else's personality, then know who held certain objects by absorbing some sort of psychic residue on said objects, then knowing that person's motivations, then having premonitions about people he isn't even around.
- Odd Friendship: With Kyle. While Kyle was in prison, Angelo tracked him down and wrote letters to him under the name "C.J." (after his favorite food).
- Playful Hacker
- The Rainman
- Reverse Mole: Was brought into the series as a supposed antagonist who could predict Jarod's movements, but turns out he's been sending Jarod information on his family and sending him warnings all along.
- Smarter Than You Look: Aside from covertly aiding Jarod, he has free-run inside The Centre and can apparently escape at will.
- That Man Is Dead: A very tragic example: "Timmy's gone."
- Trademark Favorite Food: Cracker Jacks.
- Played by: Jeffrey Donovan, Zachary Browne (child)
- Conditioned to Accept Horror
- Criminal Mind Games: Of a much more sinister sort directed at The Centre.
- The Dog Bites Back: at The Centre.
- Freudian Excuse: Mr. Raines was his caretaker and subjected him to far more violent simulations than Jarod ever experienced.
- Friend to All Children: In "The Dragon House," he hides out at a gas station, where a kid pleads to go to the bathroom. The boy's father tells him to shut up and makes like he's gonna hit him. That prompts Kyle to nearly break the father's arm and to happily tell the kid where the bathroom is.
- Good Feels Good: Jarod teaches him this.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: Loves light brown/grey leather coats.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Twice. The second time he is Killed Off for Real.
- I Did What I Had to Do: In "The Dragon House," he says he never intended to hurt Harriet when he kidnapped her; he was just certain that she knew where his parents were.
- Instant Expert: Goes with being a Pretender.
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Likes it.
- Killed Off for Real: The second time he really is.
- Long-Lost Relative: Is Jarod's younger brother he didn't know he had.
- Madness Mantra: "I decide who lives or dies."
- Meaningful Echo: When rescuing Jarod from Mr. Lyle Kyle says to Jarod the same thing Jarod said to him when he rescued Kyle in the first season.
- Odd Friendship: With Angelo.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Most of the Pretenders fall somewhere in the Man Child territory; he's a bit less so than Jarod because he was allowed out for missions, but definitely on the psychopathic end.
- Shadow Archetype: To Jarod. Kyle may not be evil specifically, but he is a Pretender that has no problem resorting to violence.
- Sibling Team: With Jarod. The times they work together, they are pretty much unstoppable.
- Spanner in the Works: Him being alive is the only reason Mr. Lyle's plan in "Red Rock Jarod" fails.
- Tyke Bomb
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Invoked at the end of his first appearance, which was in flashback. Jarod sits by himself and wonders aloud what became of Kyle.
- Played by: Ryan Merriman
- Clones Are People Too: Has his own personality and is only really like Jarod in looks and level of intelligence (well, and they both positively adore ice cream).
- Cloning Blues: Doesn't at first believe he's Jarod's clone, then gets frightened about it, but Jarod reassures him and treats him like a little brother (which he essentially is).
- Designer Babies: Is one.
- For Your Own Good: The reason Raines gives him for locking him up in a bunker his whole life.
- Motivational Lie: Was told by Raines that Jarod killed his parents, so that way if Gemini ever met Jarod he would hate him. One wonders how Raines was going to address things when Gemini got old enough to realise that he's the spitting image of Jarod.
- Mundane Object Amazement: He was even more cloistered than Jarod.
- Teen Genius
- Troubled Child: Was abused and kept locked in a room without sunlight by Raines. Yeah, he's a little troubled.
- It's implied Raines beat him if he ever caught him crying.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Is very serious with no concept of fun or enjoyment, at least until Jarod introduces him to ice cream.
EthanIs the child of Catherine Parker and Major Charles (not either of their choices as Mr. Raines stole a sperm sample from the fertility clinic that Charles and Margaret had gone to, and had implanted it in Catherine during a 'routine' operation). He was taken by Mr. Raines and sent to live outside the knowledge of The Centre to be his personal terrorist/assassin, etc.
- Hearing Voices: A trait passed down to him, Taken Up To Eleven, from Catherine.
- Reluctant Psycho: Hates hearing the voice (initially, until it is explained to him it is a gift and he is not crazy).
- Talkative Loon: How he appears to anyone who doesn't know his gift is for real. He talks back to the voices.
- Tyke Bomb
AlexA Pretender who was used to corrupt the findings of Jarod's sims. He hates Jarod with a passion, both because he is jealous of him (for The Centre ever thinking that Jarod was superior to him) and because he blames his recapture while escaping with Jarod to be Jarod's fault.
- Being Tortured Makes You Evil: When he was captured while trying to escape with Jarod, he was sent off to the Triumvirate and tortured. He says it turned him into a sociopath.
- The Corrupter: Wants to prove to Jarod that Humans Are Bastards by turning as many people as he can against Jarod.
- Disproportionate Retribution: He tries to kill Mr. Parker not for keeping him locked up in The Centre for most of his life, but for simply thinking he was inferior to Jarod.
- Evil Counterpart: To Jarod.
- Eviler Than Thou: Even Lyle considers Alex out of his mind and dangerous.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Is jealous of Jarod's reputation in The Centre as being the best and brightest Pretender.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex
- Insufferable Genius
- Instant Expert
- Laser Guided Tyke Bomb
- Never Found the Body: He jumps to his death rather than be captured by Jarod, but no one is able to locate his body.
- Not Quite Dead: He presumably fell to his death during Jarod's escape, but he was found alive and tortured for years.
- Psychopathic Manchild
- Rogue Agent
- Self-Made Orphan: The first thing he does after he escapes The Centre is to kill his family so The Centre can't use them as leverage against him.
- The Sociopath: Admits it with relish."I'm not a psychopath. I'm a sociopath. There's a difference. See, a psychopath is insane. He can't distinguish between wrong and right. A sociopath knows the difference. He just doesn't have a conscience, you know? So he doesn't care."
- Took a Level in Jerkass: At his worst, he was just concerned with saving himself at Jarod and Eddie's expense. Five years later, he's a true villain out to wreak havoc on everyone that crossed him.
- Warrior Therapist: Of the evil variety.
- Played by: Andrea Parker
- Good Adultery, Bad Adultery: Presented as the good sort, since Mr. Parker was inattentive at best and tried to kill her at worst.
- Hearing Voices: Of the benign and positive sort, that tell her information. It is a gift she passed down to Miss Parker and Ethan.
- Medical Rape and Impregnate: This was done to her. Twice.
- Posthumous Character
- Spirit Advisor: To Miss Parker and Ethan.
- Woman in White: Frequently.
ArgyleAn opportunist always looking for a quick buck. He's clever enough to get into trouble, but not clever enough to get himself back out. He first met Jarod when Jarod was injured and he tried to sell him back to The Centre, but Argyle's plan backfired and he was nearly killed by Brigitte but was saved by Jarod; since then he took rather an attachment to Jarod. Despite himself, Jarod finds himself amused by the little man and eventually considers him a friend even if he does take advantage of Jarod's Chronic Hero Syndrome.
- A Dog Named Dog: Has one.
- Good Parents: His parents were and are, and he is incredibly devoted to his father (the second episode he's in deals with him trying to work of enough money to give his dad his dream - though it being Argyle he steals money from a gang to get his dad his dream).
- Hazy Feel Turn: In his second appearance. Argyle does morally questionable things, but it's ultimately to get a plane ticket for his father, Benny, so he can see the Pope.
- Heel-Face Turn: By the third and last time he shows up.
- Honor Before Reason: In "Unsinkable," he refuses to accept money from Jarod to buy Benny's plane ticket. He says it has to come from him.
- Idiot Houdini: Largely thanks to Jarod.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: By his second appearance.
- It's All About Me: This tones down some, and is largely absent when it comes to his dad.
- Lovable Coward: After his first appearance.
- Motor Mouth
- Never My Fault: Believes this wholeheartedly.
- Oblivious To Hints: Entirely. Even blatant Brutal Honesty doesn't get very far with him if it's something he doesn't want to hear.
- Plucky Comic Relief
- Taking Advantage of Generosity: Takes advantage of Jarod's Chronic Hero Syndrome the second two times they meet, though Jarod is quite aware of what Argyle is doing and doesn't mind too much since it really is in a good cause.
Played By: Patrick Bauchau; Alex Wexo (flashbacks to Jarod's childhood)Sydney's twin brother. Also a scientist in The Centre. Was treated to an 'accident' that left him comatose after trying to devise a plan to restore all of the children stolen by The Centre to their parents.
- Always Identical Twins: He and Sydney look exactly the same, even as old men.
- Defector from Decadence: He was horrified when he learned the truth of how The Centre got Jarod and the other children.
- Killed Off for Real: by natural causes, despite the best efforts of The Centre to do it by other means.
- Make It Look Like an Accident: Sydney suspects Mr. Raines caused the accident that put Jacob in a coma. It's never confirmed outright, but a flashback in "Jarod's Honor" shows Raines threatening him.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Decided that no matter what the consequences he was going to get the kids back to their parents.
- Small Role, Big Impact: You could count on one hand the number of times Jacob appeared, but he was the one who signed Jarod into The Centre the night of his abduction.
- Twin Telepathy: With Sydney, when Sydney will let him in.
ThomasA carpenter and all around Nice Guy who woos Miss Parker. Miss Parker is at first suspicious (suspecting that this might be a plot by Raines or Lyle to see if she knows more about Jarod than she says), but ultimately falls for him. Jarod is actually the one who set them up, wanting to see Miss Parker happy.
- Hero of Another Story: Assisted Jarod on an unseen pretend. That's how they met and why Jarod believed he'd be perfect for Miss Parker.
- Killed Off for Real: One of the few that actually is.
- Manic Pixie Dream Guy
- Nice Guy
- Only Sane Man: Points out how bad Miss Parker's job is for her health and social life.
- Stuffed In The Fridge: Is killed off because of Miss Parker's intending to quit The Centre and run off with him.